4 Common Microlearning Myths Debunked

Microlearning has emerged as a buzzword in the training industry only recently over the past few years – and like any big trend, microlearning has brought with it various myths and misconceptions.

Microlearning itself refers to nuggets of information with a short duration, accessible on multiple devices, with the aim of helping employees access and apply knowledge immediately to the job situation. However, just as with any innovative technology, some of the inaccurate assumptions come from misunderstandings and confusion about how microlearning really works. This brings us to 4 common microlearning myths – debunked:

Myth 1: Any content with a short duration is Microlearning

There is a common misconception that any content that is short in duration can be considered as Microlearning, however, to qualify, these chunks of learning must be engaging, relevant and effective. In other words the most critical component of the definition is the learning part – are you able to prove that learning took place? If you can’t then your efforts are wasted!

Myth 2: Microlearning is a New Concept

The concepts associated with microlearning may sound familiar – this is unsurprising, because while the term ‘microlearning’ is relatively new, the concept is not. The fundamental principles are rooted in cognitive science, however the potential of microlearning within the workplace has only recently been realised. In many ways the concept of microlearning has evolved because of the successes of Youtube. Kahn Academy, Duolinguo, and TEDx, along with other notable examples of microlearning. It seeks to explain how so many people have become such avid users of digital learning, probably without realising that this is what they were doing.

Myth 3: Microlearning replaces traditional elearning

Microlearning is definitely not a replacement for traditional elearning and classroom based training – in fact, it is an effective way to enhance and reinforce these training methods as part of a blended learning approach. By incorporating face-to-face learning, such as coaching and mentoring, alongside traditional elearning techniques, as well as microlearning that can be accessed quickly and easily through various devices, memory retention can be greatly enhanced.

Myth 4: Microlearning is effective because nowadays people have shorter attention spans

There is a misconception held by some that learners today have shorter attentions span, possibly due to the significance of digital media and its ability to provide us with information and content at any desired time. Yet, there is little evidence to support this idea, and in fact, when people are new to a field of study, they tend to struggle to maintain concentration for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. Rather, people have no problem staying focused when they really want to – we tend to feel more engaged with story telling and challenges, and so when incorporated into learning activities, retention increases. So long as the microlearning is engaging, it will be effective. Keeping the content in the form of short bursts will also maintain focus for optimum learning potential.

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